Six years have gone by since this gigantic fair opened its doors. Always well organized where different kinds of Peruvian cuisine are separated into worlds.
There is the world of the north where food rich in seafood, stews, dressings, and such are served. It is the cradle of our famous mirasol aji and our red aji which are justifiably considered the heart and soul of Peruvian cooking.
You will also see the Amazonian world with all its joy and fervor. It offers grilled or baked river fish and amazing dishes wrapped in the banana leafs that spring up in our jungles.
Next you find the southern world which shows the wonders of our millenarian cuisine. It has nourishing ingredients filled with flavor such as baked guinea pig, pork, stuffed rocotos (another hot pepper), sweet and tender ears of corn from our valleys. This kind of cuisine carries much tradition in each and every dish passed from generation to generation. The procedures and techniques are respected from sewing seeds through the arrival of the dish on your table.
Of course there is the world of cevicherias where you find represented the best cevicherias of our long coast with their fish, mussels and shrimp, hot peppers, herbs and the ever-present northern lime which gives perfect moisture and acidity. It provides our ceviche with the necessary body. When ever we eat a dish of ceviche we recognize and thank our fishermen who go into the sea every day so that we can enjoy this delicacy.
There are of course many more worlds. Peru has had many cultures and has welcomed many people from other lands with their customs, techniques, and ingredients all of which have fused into new, Peruvian cuisines. They have given us magnificent dishes such as those of Nikkei, Japanese Peruvian cuisine. It brings to us from the orient rolls and makis. These have joined our indigenous products with Asian recipes. Together with Peruvian flavor they have created a new style of cuisine which forms a large part of our marvelous world of gastronomy in Peru.
Along with these you will find an extensive market where our producers can show how their work brings forth food that can arrive at your home clean and in bags. It is an experience you do not find elsewhere. Here you learn about our rural workers who work year round to bring food to the capital. This market not only shows of our products, it shares culture and learning about the process of production, the times rain falls, the sewing, fertilizers and above all the heritage that our ancestors have left for us.
By the market we have an auditorium where great chefs from throughout the world arrive to speak to future chefs from our country and chow them the path that awaits them. They teach them to conserve and respect the original techniques while experimenting. It is a temple of reflection, motivation, and pride in the reputation our cooking has claimed int he world along with the world’s interest in Peru.
Mistura emphasizes the importance of our farmers for Peruvian gastronomy with its official slogan: COME RICO, COME SANO, COME PERUANO (eat well, eat healthy, and eat Peruvian). It claims the mission of giving value to our biodiversity and the importance of good nutrition.
For many years we have forgotten about the importance of our rural brothers who with hard work sew and harvest all that feeds us every day. We often lack knowledge of how food arrives at our home. Though we are often forgetful, this year Mistura has taken the proposal to rendering well deserved credit to our campesinos, who work without giving in to tiredness or the need for vacations like other workers. Mistura instructs the rest of us that without work we would simply have to eat canned and low quality food from far away.
More than 10,000 years ago the first Peruvians domesticated more than 182 species of plants and five animals. In harmony with nature the were able to transform hills and valleys into great agricultural paradises where the most important crops were developed: potatoes, yuca, and corn.
As privileged heirs of their millennial wisdom today, more than two million farmers grow the food to supply our country day by day. They struggle with weather and climate changes, as well as with soils that are seemingly more hostile to man. But that does not keep them from working to bring us the best.
Thanks to family agriculture many generations have worked in unity just like their ancestors. They have avoided the temptations of immigration to the capital in search of better conditions. In this way they have reinforced their economy as a family and have supported their family enterprise which benefits their entire community as well as all of us. By recognizing and supporting them our country hopes to eradicate poverty, generate education, and progress as a result.
By practicing family agriculture our people keep alive their respect for the Pachamama, the Mother Earth, while being patient to allow the passage of time for their crops to grow and mature in a natural fashion. They care for the different types of land and take care of our rivers and valleys, everything that plays a role in their harvests and our daily food.
More and more other countries are recognizing the value of our food products which we increasingly export in great quantities. It is important to emphasize that the UN holds that the Andean sweet potato will play a role in saving other continents from malnutrition because of its combination of nutrients. It is with pride that we see our quinoa and chicha morada (purple corn drink) becoming the food of astronauts.
Thanks to the value Mistura gives to our farmers who produce an infinity of foods while preserving our culture, now many Peruvians as well as tourists will keep in their hearts the importance of the great people who feed us all.